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Sadness hits like a tidal wave, or it climbs in a gradual crescendo. And just as the manner of its onset is varied, so is its source.


Personal matters in the present provoke acute sadness for us, whether it's a family tragedy or a terrible setback.

Likewise, past calamities in our lives create powerfully sad responses as well. These sources, though distant, can be a bottomless well that we can't help but reach into every now and again.

And outside the personal realm, sadness can be caused by observations of tragedies that we are only spectating. But though they don't impact us directly, our compassion is incited and the tears come flowing just as hard.

kyukale0310 asked, "What makes you sad always?"

Never Any Easier

"Death of my wife. It has been almost 13 years and I can start bawling my eyes out at the drop of a hat. Sad commercial, country western song, sappy movie. I just sob."

"She was the light of my life and the apple of my eye. We shared 29 glorious years but it will never have been enough. She was only 50."

-- phil8248

An Demoralizing Confirmation

"Sometimes I'll be telling a story, and I don't think anyone is listening, so I just stop in the middle, and I am right." -- middleagethreat

"I was a freshman about to leave for the dorms in college. Realized my mom wasn't listening. And it was when I realized she wasn't listening all these other times too. My whole life she hasn't been interested in most of what little stories and things that I was telling her."

"It really hurt and I went from thinking I was going to call her every week and share my college life with her to going every month or so. Our relationship was never the same because I realized she just wasn't interested." -- saturnspritr

Taking Stock

"My age. While 70 is a milestone, I miss the days of youth. I miss my vigor and energy. I wake up sad some days because I know my days on this earth are dwindling."

"I wish I had done more in life even though my accomplishments in my career were satisfying. I wish we had had more children. At the same time, I'm glad to be retired, even with the meager pensions we have now."

"And after 50 years of marriage, I'm glad to spend my final years with my best friend and lover. I'm sad there's just so little time left."

-- QuackedUp99

What Could Have Been

"Seeing pictures of my dad. My parents divorced when I was 3, and courts didn't allow a lot of visitation time for my dad. He finally got me out of a bad situation with my mom when I was 15, and got me back on track."

"He died a few years later, and I always feel like I got cheated out of having him in my life."

-- floridas_lostboy

Unsettling Trends

"How many friends I've gradually lost over the years (I'm 35) just because of drifting apart, starting families, etc and how at the same time, it has become exponentially harder to make new friends." -- wxmanify

"I'm a month shy of 35 and it's gotten to the point that I have exactly one friend I still see from time to time. It definitely gets harder to make new friends, but I see it as a sign that I need to branch out and try new things as a way of meeting new people."

"A shrinking friend pool is an indicator of needing to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little more, at least in my view."

"Once this pesky pandemic is behind us of course." -- JuniusBobbledoonary

Anticipating Tragedy

"That there will be a time I pet my dog for the last time." -- LeadfilledBeanieBaby

"My dog is 10.5 years old. My husband and I got him in our early 20s. We've had two kids, bought a house, and have built a pretty great life together. Our dog has been there for all of it. He's grown up with us."

"We always have joked that the dog is dead when he's in a deep sleep. We'll say 'oh, the cat must have finally murdered him good this time' or 'RIP Seamus, it was good knowing you.'"

"We make jokes about it because we know it's going to hurt really badly when it finally happens for real. In the meantime, we'll keep joking about his death by cat" -- rosekayleigh

Aimless Dread

"Not knowing what exactly to do in life" -- Hunter0955

"May the following couple of sentences help you."

"Understand as much as we'd like to do many things in our life, the time is limited, therefore our options are too. Time is the currency of life. The one thing you can't buy. Try to figure out what you should do with your time and why."

"For that, Look into the Japanese concept of Ikigai." -- KILLA2-0

Internalizing the Chaos

"I don't know if this is just me, but sometimes I become hyper aware of the world. It's like I'll think about the horror going on in somewhere like South Sudan, the genocide going on in China of the Muslims or the rampant assault that goes on in the world and it just feels like a ton of bricks hitting me all at once."

"They don't directly effect me but at the same time I feel like if my grandkids ever ask me how I responded in those time I can't give them a justified answer."

-- texassadist

Self-Defeating Thoughts

"Sometimes I get really excited when I'm telling someone about a subject I love when my brain suddenly gives me this irrationally strong feeling that I'm just annoying the other person by talking at all."

"Then I usually just go quiet and don't want to talk or be around that person anymore. I just want to disappear, because my brain is a bully."

-- djb2589

Witnessing the Worst

"Seeing neglected children. Truly breaks my heart." -- deathofacarsalesman

"As a pediatric nurse, the number of kids I've handed over to go home with horrible, abusive parents keeps me up at night. Babies with broken bones, head trauma, neglect...social services is a broken system."

"These parents get too many chances to destroy lives." -- Iloveteatoo

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Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Now that college has become a standard requirement for so many jobs and careers, there is a massive push by high schools to get their graduating students accepted and enrolled at an undergraduate college.

On the whole, that's undoubtedly a great thing. A more educated workforce will be prepared to solve the most complex issues facing human beings in the next several decades.

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Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The person on the other end of a 911 call has a truly remarkable job.

For those who don't play that professional role, we hope to never encounter the 911 call interaction. But if we do find ourselves making that call, the moment is an anomaly in our lives.

The chaos, the panic, the racing heart, and the desperation are all emotions we, ideally, don't experience on a regular basis.

But for the operator on the other end, our call is one in a long line of calls they've received all day, and all the workdays before that one.

It's difficult to imagine being embedded in those uniquely urgent, emergency moments all the time.

Some Redditors who are on the other end of that call shared their experiences on the job.

WhimsicalxxButcher asked, "911 dispatchers what has been your most creepy/unnerving call?"

For a few, the most unnerving moments were the calm callers.

There was something just so eerie about how level-headed the faceless human being on the other end could be through such a desperate, tragic moment.

Almost Clinical 

"I had a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher and he always said the worst call he ever had was a ~20 year old kid who committed suicide by mixing a bunch of chemicals together in his car to produce hydrogen sulfide gas."

"He said that the most unnerving part was hearing him calmly listing off the chemicals, the type of gas produced, and the effects of hydrogen sulfide on the body (namely the almost instant death it causes at high concentrations)."

"He ended the call by providing the address of the parking lot he was in and saying that nobody should approach the vehicle without hazmat equipment."

"Apparently after that there was a whooshing sound as he dumped the last chemical into the mix, and then the line went dead silent aside for a quiet fizzing noise."

"I know that call screwed him up because he almost never talks about stuff that happens to him on the job. He quit a few months later to go into construction management, and frankly I can't blame him."

-- iunoyou

Planned Out 

"A woman called me, saying she was going to kill herself. She was gassing herself. Gave me her name & address then said she was just going to lie down and 'go to sleep.' And stopped responding to me."

"I kept the line open, trying to get her to speak to me, and eventually heard officers forcing their way in to find her body. I guess she just wanted someone to find her body."

-- mozgw4

Before It Set In 

"When I got a call from a 6 year old who got home from school and laid down to take a nap with his dad. His dad never woke up."

"The kid was so calm when calling it broke my heart."

"I ended up leaving dispatch shortly after. I was good at compartmentalizing the job for the year I was doing it, but it would've broken me in the long run."

-- tasha7712

Other 911 operators were unfortunate enough to receive a call from the very last person they wanted to hear from: a loved one.

These dispatchers' unique position gave them the unexpected access to a family member or friend at their most dire moments.

No More of That 

"My family member is a long time first responder, and 'retired' into doing dispatch. He heard the address (someone else was taking the call) and realized it was his daughter's house."

"He rushed over there just in time to see them wheeling her body out. Overdose."

"Five months later, he was called to his ex-wife's place because his grandson (son of the daughter who recently passed) had his door locked, lights on, but wasn't responding to his grandma."

"He broke the door down and found him deceased in bed. Overdose."

"He's very stoic after years of all sorts of traumatic situations but my heart hurts whenever I think of what all of this must have felt like. Like sand through your fingers."

-- bitchyhouseplant

Knowing the Address

"Not me, but my grandma. I was sitting in the dispatch office, (very small one only 2 dispatchers including my grandma) but she put out a dispatch that there was a gun shot from my best friends address."

"My heart sank to my stomach and broke later that day. He committed suicide."

-- OntaiSenpuu

When it Happened 

"My uncle passing away. Worked as a small town dispatcher for a year or so. Had a bunch of messed up stuff happen on shift, but this call came in in the still hours of the night. Small town, so not many calls after midnight."

"I answered and recognized the name and address on caller id. Aunt was in a frenzy so didn't recognize my voice. I remained calm and got ems and fire rolling to them, but by my aunt's own words he was already blue."

"I went thru debriefing and mandated therapy for a couple other things that happened, but never really talked to anyone about this. I just try not to think about it."

"That was the call I figured out I needed to find a different job."

-- dangitjon

Finally, some simply had a front row seat to sudden tragedy.

These operators were flies on the wall when disaster struck. They never asked to witness what they witnessed, but sometimes that came with the territory.

A Holiday Tragedy 

"My mom is a 911 dispatcher. Early on she said one Christmas Eve while working she got a call from an elderly lady who's husband had just collapsed(and died) from a heart attack and in the background Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music was playing on blast."

"The lady was screaming and crying and begging for her husband to wake up but my mom could hear his gurgling in his last breathes. She doesn't listen to or watch Alvin and the chipmunks since."

-- Blueflowerbluehair

What is it About Christmas?

"Christmas night. 911 call with crying child on the other end. A neighbor had run her car over her mom during a domestic."

"The mom crawled to the porch bleeding and the child saw the car coming back. I had her hide quietly in a closet with the cordless phone."

"The 10 year old child was crying and screamed that she hated Christmas. She was afraid of the police when they got there."

"I kept her on the phone until she felt safe enough to give the phone to an officer. I almost fainted after that call was over. Had nightmares for a while."

-- 2FunBoofer

Close to Home 

"Not a dispatcher but I handle radio communications for the Coast Guard. One night I was on the radio and got a call from an 11 year old kid whose boat had started to sink. He was out with his dad and 6 year old brother."

"They had been hit by another boat and his father got knocked unconscious. I remember the entire conversation up until the radio had gone underwater."

"They ended up finding his dad floating on his back alive but the two boys didn't make it. That one really fu**ed with me because my two littlest brothers were around the same age as the youngest."

-- HIRSH2243

A Horrible Clock 

"Another one that stays with me was the man who called in. It was the anniversary of his adult son having hanged himself. He'd now come home to find his wife had done the same."

"That date is always going to be a black day for him."

-- mozgw4


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Again, we hope you never have to use the 911 call in your life. Nobody wants to be involved in a sudden emergency or a tragic incident.

But hopefully, if you do, an operator like one of these thoughtful, sensitive Redditors is on the other end.

Image by Nguyen Dinh Lich from Pixabay

When I was moving on from middle school to high school my parents had me tested for the "gifted" program. By some miracle I passed and was accepted. And then I turned it down. Everyone was irritated. "This will pave the way for any college you want! You'll learn so much!" his path will set you up for life!" Every adult tried valiantly to sell me this merchandise but in my gut I just wasn't buying it. So I "settled" a level below, merely advanced classes. And upon reflection... it was the best choice I ever made.

Redditor u/dauntlessdaisy was wondering how far some in life got by asking... For those of you who were considered "gifted" in school, what are you doing with your life now?
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Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

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